Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’ - Deepstash
Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’

Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’

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Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’

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We Don't Remember Us Being An Infant

Most people can’t remember events from the first few years of their lives – a phenomenon researchers have dubbed infantile amnesia. But why can’t we remember the things that happened to us when we were infants? Does memory start to work only at a certain age?

Here’s what researchers know about babies and memory.

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Infants Can Form Memories

Infants may be able to form:

Semantic memories: memories of facts like the names of different varieties of apples or the capital of your home state.

Procedural memories: how to perform an action.

Infants cannot form autobiographical memories, remembering events with them being the main character of their consciousness.

You can get infants to remember events for longer by training them for longer periods of time and by giving them reminders.

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The Reason For Infantile Amnesia

It still isn’t clear whether people experience infantile amnesia because we can’t form autobiographical memories, or whether we just have no way to retrieve them. No one knows for sure what’s going on, but scientists have a few guesses.

  • The hippocampus, which is the region of the brain that is largely responsible for memory, isn't fully developed in the infancy period.
  • Another possible explanation for infantile amnesia is that because infants don’t have language until later in the second year of life, they can’t form narratives about their own lives that they can later recall.

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